Sign In

How to Save on ANYTHING With Gift Cards

Online resellers offer gift cards at up to 50% off. As long as you stick with trustworthy sites, you can end up paying less for whatever you want to buy.
Published
gift cards

You've probably gotten (and given) plenty of gift cards as presents, but have you considered using them to save cash on your everyday purchases? Just like anything else, gift cards can go on sale — and that sale price means an immediate discount on anything you buy. And if you use your cheap gift cards to buy products that are on sale, you can multiply your savings for even better bargains.

Here's how you can use gift cards to pay less for almost anything.

How to Find Discounted Gift Cards

The easiest source of gift cards is the retailers themselves, though that's rarely where you'll find the best deals. Around the holiday season, retailers may offer discounts on gift cards, bundle a small gift card with the purchase of a larger one, or include gift cards with merchandise purchases. A better place to look for discounted cards the rest of the year is a warehouse club like BJ's Wholesale Club, Costco, and Sam's Club. These retailers always offer a selection of gift cards for under retail price.

The best way by far to save on gift cards is to buy them from one of the many online gift card resellers.

That said, the best way by far to save on gift cards is to buy them from one of the many online gift card resellers. Here you'll find gift cards from most major retailers — from Target to Toys"R"Us — available at a variety of dollar values. Depending on what's available on the day you're shopping, deals could range from 1% off to 50% off.

A good place to shop is Gift Card Granny, which aggregates deals from different online sellers, so you can be sure you're getting the best price. Just type in the name of the store you'd like a gift card from to see available cards. Browse cards based on value, seller, savings, and more, then click on the card you want. Gift Card Granny will then send you on to the seller where you can buy the card.

Where Do These Discounted Cards Come From?

When you buy from an online marketplace, you don't know exactly where your card came from. For any savvy online shopper, that probably rings alarm bells. How do you know that you aren't paying for a $50 gift card and getting a used card with no dollar value in return?

Beware of Craigslist sales and similar one-on-one transactions. Without any kind of return policy, it's easy to get scammed.

As with buying anything online, be sure you're shopping with a trustworthy source. Many gift card resellers have a reliable track record, such as GiftCards.com and Cardpool — both of which have a generous return policy and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Gift Card Granny only aggregates cards from trustworthy sites that have return policies, easy access to customer support, and that sell gift cards from legitimate sources.

Several marketplaces guarantee purchases, but only for a certain amount of time (like a month), so be sure you'll use the credit by then. For this reason, we recommend you only by second-hand gift cards when you plan to spend them right away. Wherever you shop, read the store's policies — especially the return policy — before you buy.

SEE ALSO: Don't Shop at CardCash Unless You Know How it Works

While you'll be able to find deeper discounts when dealing with people selling gift cards directly, beware of Craigslist sales and similar one-on-one transactions. Without any kind of return policy, it's easy to get scammed.

4 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Gift Card

Is it a physical card or a digital code? Physical cards will be sent to you in the mail; digital codes will be emailed to you immediately. The latter is preferable for avoiding scams, and if necessary, taking advantage of return policies in time.

Where can I use the gift card? You may only be able to redeem digital gift cards online.

What can I buy with the card? Some gift cards can't be used for certain types of purchases. For example, Best Buy gift cards can't be used online to buy other Best Buy gift cards. Be sure your gift card works for what you want to buy.

What does the fine print say? Some gift cards have fees or expiration dates — make sure yours doesn't.

Some resellers will make this info clear when you're shopping, but it's best to check directly with the store. You don't want to waste cash on a gift card that you can't use to buy what you want.

What About Making Money With Gift Cards?

If you have a gift card you don't want, you can always resell it on these same sites. You'll often get around 80% of the card's face value, which is better than letting it languish in a desk drawer.

Readers, what are your own gift card savings tips? Let us know in the comments!


Contributing Writer

Originally working in IT, Elizabeth now writes on tech, gaming, and general consumer issues. Her articles have appeared in USA Today, Time, AOL, PriceGrabber, and more. She has been one of DealNews' most regular contributors since 2013, researching everything from vacuums to renters insurance to help consumers.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
You might also like
Leave a comment!

or Register
7 comments
dealnews-bglaser (DealNews)
Thank you for all the comments. We'll definitely look into issues with CardCash, and will definitely include Raise in our next update of this piece!
jennhen73
I echo the comments about Raise.com, and I think they just extended their guarantee to a year? Much better than Cardcash's 45 days. I have purchased several bum gift cards from Cardcash, and they have always come through with a refund, until I purchased a printable e-gift card. The seller must have kept the numbers, because they were using the gift card at the same time as me. When I reported it, I only received a small portion of the cost in credit. I will stick with physical gift cards when buying from Cardcash, and maybe anyone else too.
chase
I am extremely surprised and disappointed that DealNews did NOT mention Raise.com. You should really update this article to include Raise. Raise is not only one of the largest gift card resell websites on earth but its reputation is probably the best among all of them. And for their digital cards, they have instant delivery.... which is way better than the other sites this article mentioned.
golobd
Let me echo...stay away from Cardcash. Had a bad experience with them.
R2sd3
I'm surprised Raise.com wasn't mentioned at all. I've had decent success buying their gift cards and I've sold some there as well...

Another helpful thing I'm surprised I didn't see was that many gift cards will work for multiple retailers. Many companies have multiple stores. For example, an Old Navy Gift Card works at Old Navy (obviously), Gap, Banana Republic, Gap Kids, & a couple of others. Olive Garden (Darden Restaurant Group) works at Longhorn, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and others. Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Homegoods, etc.... So buy the card that has the biggest discount & then use it at any of the places it is accepted.
srl99
Stay the heck away from CardCash, which is being flogged on another Bargains site. Total scam ... the "seller" still has the gift card info and they drain the card whenever they want to.

AMZN, Costco, BJ's, Sam's ... all legit.
saporitos
Discounted e-gift cards are a fabulous way to make a great deal even better. BUT, not all cards are delivered immediately. Some sites state that it may take 24-48 hours before you receive your card. By then, the sale may be over or the item sold out. The best way I've found to receive my cards quickly is by establishing myself as a customer of the gift card resellers I frequent. Most go to great lengths to verify that you are who your credit card says you are...and all that takes time. The 3 or 4 resellers I use most send the e-gift cards to me within an hour because I've shopped there a number of times.

And what about scoring a discount on those seldom-discounted cards like Amazon, Target, Kroger, Walmart, and gas stations? When one of the sites offers a site-wide discount, jump on it to purchase one of these cards. I've seen discounts up to 10% on cards that seldom go on sale using this method.

Happy shopping (and saving)!